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History of the Navajo Indians of Utah

Taken from the Utah History Encyclopedia (Links Added)
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Navajo economy from the 1600s to the first third of the 1900s depended on two primary sources--agriculture learned from the pueblo peoples and livestock such as sheep, goats, and horses obtained initially from the Spaniards. Because the San Juan River was one of the few reliable sources of water in Navajo territory, during the summer months many Dine planted fields of corn, beans, and squash on its floodplains or tributaries and pastured their sheep in the mountains. Winter camps were usually at lower elevations where wood, water, and protection from cold winds were available. Hunting and gathering occurred in a variety of ecological zones according to the location of the foodstuffs being sought.

Spaniards and Mexicans occasionally pursued Navajos into the northern part of their territory, but it was not until the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo at the end of the Mexican War in 1848 that Anglo-Americans were prompted to take action against Navajo raiders. The Mormon colonies of southwestern Utah and the settlers of New Mexico and Arizona reacted against the Navajo by sending military expeditions to halt the threat. Kit Carson and Ute Indian Agent Alfred Pfeiffer encouraged the antagonism already felt by the Utes against their Navajo neighbors. Although the military launched a number of campaigns, it was the continuous pressure of Native American and New Mexican allies that finally caused the massive surrender of an estimated two-thirds of the Navajo population, 8,000 of whom went on the Long Walk before finally being incarcerated at Fort Sumner, New Mexico.

Those who did not surrender hid in the canyons and mountains to avoid detection. In Utah, men like Hashkeneinii and Kaayelii fled from the Utes and settled at Navajo Mountain and the Bears Ears, two regions where Navajos lived peacefully with the Paiutes. There the Navajos expanded their flocks and land holdings and awaited the release of their relatives from captivity.

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